Thursday, October 8, 2020

No one saw it coming....

....But maybe someone should have. Sofia Kenin hasn't exactly had a promising post-shutdown experience, but--not unlike Bianca Andreescu--she thrives on solving problems, and she brought that under-rated skill to the clay courts in Paris. As for Iga Swiatek--we've all been watching her for a while, so why not now? (Ask Alona Ostapenko!) 

The Polish teen, who--today--make quick work of impressive qualifier Nadia Podoroska, Swiatek has yet to drop a set, and she's dropped only 23 games on her way to the French Open final. Will the occasion finally get to her on Saturday, when she plays Kenin in the final? It might. Or she could just Ostapenko her way through.

As for Kenin, she theoretically had her hands full with an on-fire Petra Kvitova, but Kvitova's nerves got the best of her, she rushed way too many shots, and made too many errors. In contrast, the Australian Open champion took advantage of four out of five break opportunities, saved ten out of twelve break points against her, brushed off her own errors, and emerged the victor, 6-4, 7-5, marking her first defeat of Kvitova.

This should be an exceptional final. Swiatek has never won a tournament, and--though the tennis world has been aware of her talent for some time--she has never before put on a performance like she has put on in Paris (few have). The 19-year-old has a complete game, plus power, precision, and--so far--confidence to spare. On Saturday, she will face a tactician and problem-solver supreme. 

Kenin and Swiatek played each other at the 2016 French Open as juniors; Swiatek won that match, 6-4, 7-5. “I was not as comfortable on clay as I am now, as I started to feel last year,” Kenin said. “Of course, we’re both different players now.”

Here are the players' paths to the final:

round 1--def. Marketa Vondrousa (2019 finalist)
round 2--def. Hsieh Su-Wei
round 3--def. Genie Bouchard
round of 16--def. Simona Halep (1)
quarterfinals--def. Martina Trevisan
semifinals--def. Nadia Podoroska (Q)

round 1--def. Liudmila Samsonova
round 2--def. Ana Bogdan
round 3--def. Irina Bara
round of 16--Fiona Ferro
quarterfinals--def. Danielle Collins
semifinals--def. Petra Kvitova (7)

There was another big upset today in Paris. Top seed and defending wheelchair champion Diede De Groot was defeated in the semifinals by Monoko Ohtani of Japan. Playing in just her second major, Ohtani defeated De Groot 7-5, 6-4. The top seed's serve has been considerably off lately, and that was a major factor in her loss. 

Ohtani's oopponent in the final will be countrywoman and 2nd seed Yui Kamiji, who has won the French Open three times (and three times in doubles). In the semifinals, Kamiji defeated Aniek Van Koot, who has been struggling with an injury which she described as "a kind of carpal tunnel syndrome combined with a tendon sheath inflammation in my left wrist."

NOTE: Content on this blog from here on out is likely to be delayed because Hurricane Delta is coming my way and I expect to lose power. If I'm lucky, the cellular towers will withstand the storm and I'll be able to watch the final on my phone. If I'm really lucky,  power will be restored quickly--a possibility since I'm on the same grid as the local hospital.


jwr said...

I know how you feel whenever Petra loses....but I must say that for a tennis junkie Sonya Kenin is the fix.

Good luck with Delta!

Nondisposable Johnny

Diane said...

Thanks, Johnny! I'll lose power and may have some roof damage, but hoping for the best.

Sofia is indeed the fix, and this should be a great final.